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FBI Searches Trump's Mar-a-Lago Home In Classified Documents Probe; Police Battle Gangs For Control In Port-au-Prince; Serena Williams Announces She'll "Evolve Away From Tennis". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 09, 2022 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right, more now on the unprecedented FBI search at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, a stunning move by the Justice Department, one that could have wide- ranging implications for the former president and well beyond his potential 2024 candidacy.

Peter Strzok is a former FBI deputy assistant deputy director and the author of "Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump." And Gloria Borger is CNN's chief political analyst.

We're going to do the political and the investigative.

Gloria, let me start with you.

Yesterday's search warrant, executed at Mar-a-Lago, there are lots of different facets that think this was a good political day for them. Are there any clear losers, politically, here?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's too early to tell. And I don't think we should just look at this through the political lens.

But you know, I can tell you that I just got off the phone with a Republican source who's very close to Donald Trump, and his feeling is that Republicans effectively right now see this as a gift.

Because the word we're hearing all the time now is, "weaponizing the FBI, weaponizing if Justice Department."

And we know that is something the former president himself did, asking that the Justice Department investigate 25 of his own political opponents.

Including you, Peter, right?


So -- but this is the campaign theme now, that if they could do this to Donald Trump and go into his home, they can do this to you. And so you're going to see this -- you're going to see this theme over

and over and over again. So right now, they're using it. And they think they'll be able to use it to great effect.

It depends, of course, on what this is all about and what the FBI and the Justice Department know that we don't know.

BLACKWELL: Peter, let's get into some of this reporting that Gabby Orr brought us at the top of the show, confirming some of these details of a June meeting at Mar-a-Lago, four investigators, two Trump attorneys there.

Source say that aides took investigators to the room where these documents were being held. Another source says that they were inspected somewhat, enough to see that some of them were marked "top secret."

Aides were later asked to secure the documents. The room was padlocked.

What, during those exchanges or subsequently, has to happen for this to elevate beyond a subpoena for those documents to a search warrant? What do they have to see that this becomes that urgent?


I want to clear up a little bit of a misconception in the context of the subpoena. Classified information, by its nature, can cause damage to the national security.

So anybody who has that, that doesn't have authorization to have it, any time that's stored somewhere it's not allowed to be stored, issuing a subpoena only allows that third party who doesn't have authorized access to continue to handle it, to collect it, to give it to their attorney, to give it to the mail room.

So the government doesn't use subpoenas to obtain classified information. Haven't in my experience over 20 years.

The government has two options. They can go to the person and get consent and say, you have what appears to be classified information, please, let us in, and get all of it.

But the only other option is get a search warrant. You go to a judge, say, Your Honor, here's an affidavit. We have probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime, specifically in this case, that there's classified information in the possession of somebody not authorized to hold it.

Judge issues that warrant. The government then uses that to go in, search and seize that information.

But in the context -- again, this is kind of a niche area of national security law -- the government doesn't use subpoenas for classified information. And with this case, with Trump -- the FBI gets search warrants to seize classified information more often than you'd think.

What's unique in this case, the FBI, prior to yesterday, has never gotten a search warrant, let alone for classified information, on a president or former president of the United States.


So, what I think happened is during that June meeting -- go ahead.

BLACKWELL: This is important is that subpoenas is off the table. You either get the search warrant -- is that coming only after the declining or denying the request for the information, simply going to them and asking for it?

STRZOK: Not necessarily. That's going to be the judgment of the prosecutors, of the investigators looking at the party sitting across from them on the other side of the table.

If you have a reputable client, there may be some negotiation with that person or that person's attorney to get access.

In the case of Trump, though, remember, he has been going back and forth, first with the National Archives and later, at least at this June, with the Justice Department prosecutors, trying to hammer something out.

So I expect what happened is that, in DOJ's judgment, they had not seen cooperation from former President Trump for an extended period of time.

And said, we don't want to risk, he gives consent, we're halfway through the search, we want to open a drawer, and they say, no, we're withdrawing consent, you're not allowed to be here anymore, please, get out.

BORGER: So, I guess --


BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

BORGER: I guess my question is, in talking to Republicans today, is, does it matter what's in that drawer? Do they have to have some sense?

You say a crime was committed. Well, that can be a misdemeanor, like it was for Sandy Berger, right, former national security advisor.

So, does it matter what they believe might be in that drawer, or is it just sort of any information? Because, as a former president, this belongs to the American people. It does not belong to you.

And that's where the political distinction, I think, comes in. Because if, in the end, it's just a matter of a couple of pieces of paper, love notes from so-and-so or whatever, Kim Jong-Un or whatever, is that enough to warrant a search warrant?

How many more conversations need to be had between June and yesterday?

STRZOK: Well, I think if I'm answering that --


STRZOK: -- the fact that -- the fact that there's classified information there's a game changer.

There's been a lot of talk about presidential records and the Presidential Records Act and whether or not that's -- it is a rather toothless statute.

That's not the case with classified information. Possessing classified information carries real criminal penalties.


And, Gloria, what amusing me in the political context. What no Republican is mentioning right now is, in the course of investigating Hillary Clinton's use of private email server, we issued multiple search warrants for classified information.

Not one Republican raised a single finger of protest. And I guarantee you, you will not hear in a single word coming out of a Republican right now any concern about the fact that we used search warrants in the context of that investigation.

So, this is not, again, it is unique in the sense this is a former president. It is not at all unique in the context of how the government goes about the business of securing classified information.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and also, what we're hearing from many of the Republicans who are saying that the DOJ is being weaponized, they say by the Biden administration. The White House says they didn't know about this.

Nary a peep after some of the revelations from the January 6th hearings over the last several months.

Peter Strzok, Gloria Borger, thank you.

BORGER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: It's been a year since the assassination of Haiti's president, and police are struggling to maintain order. CNN goes inside gang territory to show you the dire conditions and the daily chaos there. That's next.



BLACKWELL: Haiti is spiraling deeper into crisis. The country is facing skyrocketing inflation, gas shortages, food insecurity, all while gangs take control of dozens of neighborhoods in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The descent into the abyss in Haiti is fastest here. The one certainty is when the police SWAT team we are with cross into gang territory, they will take fire.


GRAPHIC: They're shooting! They're shooting!

WALSH: It is now a blunt war for control of the capital.


GRAPHIC: Where are they shooting from?

WALSH: The police need to prove they can be here. The gangs, the police cannot.

And it is ordinary citizens who are caught in between. Here, a passenger on a civilian bus that was hit in the street.


GRAPHIC: Take the injured people to the hospital. Make sure you take them to the hospital with the armored vehicle. You guys are close to there.

WALSH: In the days before, police said they'd rescued six hostages in this same area and killed a leader of the 400 Mawozo gang.


WALSH: The police struggled to hold ground, so the gangs, whose currency is kidnapping and drugs, are gaining far too much. Especially right here.


WALSH: Rounds hit the armored vehicle.


WALSH: They think they see where the gunmen are.


GRAPHIC: The building that says "SMS." The yellow and red one!


GRAPHIC: Loudspeaker: "Get away! You're too exposed! It's dangerous!" WALSH: They run, but not like it's their first time under fire, perhaps even this day.


GRAPHIC: As soon as we get to that point, anything that moves, light it up!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move, move, move, move! Move! Move!

WALSH: They slide back. Perhaps the gangs have fled down the alley.


WALSH (on camera): It's this kind of intense violence that so many cite when they talk about Haiti's spiral towards collapse.

(voice-over): The firepower they bring doesn't, in itself, change who's in control. Gangs able to block main roads at will with trucks.


GRAPHIC: Stay behind the wall there.

WALSH: And it requires a major operation to clear them.

Gangs now often match or outgun the police. They have a bulldozer, too, demolishing rivals' houses in one area, Cite Soleil.

Locals fled at night during 10 days of clashes in July that left over 470 dead, injured or missing, said the U.N., as the G-9 gang expanded control, burning and demolishing.

Those who survived fled to nights here, where a mix of flies and rain stop them from even sleeping.


GRAPHIC: They burned my house in Cite Soleil and shot my husband seven times. I can't even afford to see him at the hospital. Down here the children are starving.

I have four kids, but my first is missing and I can't find him. I looked for him everywhere but can't find him.


GRAPHIC: My mother and my father have died. My aunt saved me. I want to go to school, but it was torn down.

WALSH To see where acute desperation can lead, we travel to what's left of the government rarely treads. Don't be fooled by the beauty. There is no paradise here, only hunger, heat, trash and the business of leaving. Traffickers boat out to the Bahamas; Cuba; Florida, if you're lucky.

And while these places are sending Haitians back in record numbers, the U.S. Coast Guard is also stopping four times as many this year as last.


These exits are what Johnny arranges.

JOHNNY, MIGRANT SMUGGLER (through translation): If we die, we die. If we make it, we make it. I'm the one who buys the boat. It can cost up to $15,000. We are hoping to get 250 people for the next trip, because the boat is big.

WALSH: Not everyone made on the last trip three months ago.

JOHNNY (through translation): The boat had an engine problem. Water got inside of the boat. We called for help, but it took too long. Twenty- nine people died in that trip.

WALSH: These aren't people who usually share their trade secrets, but maybe now they're relaxed as the authorities are busy.

The boat is aging, scraps of net plugging holes, engines not fixed yet. But this is where Johnny hopes 250 people will huddle, maybe as early as next week.

(on camera): Not really something you want to be in on dry land, let alone out at sea for days.

(voice-over): One man tells us why he saved for a year to get into here.


WALSH: "I graduated and work as a teacher," he says, "but it did not work out. Now I am driving a motorcycle every day in the sun and the dust. How will I be able to take care of my family when I have one? I'm not afraid. I will be eaten by a shark or make it to America."

A hope so remote, it could only exist here, where they say the choice is between fire and water. Even if all day, every day, already feels like drowning.


WALSH: Now, Victor, just to describe a bit of the geography, why the Haitian capital feels like it's cut off from the rest of the world, frankly, let along, the rest of Haiti.

The ports are controlled by the gang. They have the road outside.

Over there, where there's been significant fighting between gangs to the north, more gang control in the key road to the east, a significant gang territory where you saw that gunfire earlier. And to the south, to the part of the country that was so damaged by the earthquake last year, the main route there also controlled by the gangs.

And 75 percent, according to one security force official of this capital controlled or influenced by the gang.

That informs daily life where there's inflation at 30 percent, wherever gas is available at gas stations, and a political crisis where still the prime minister is in charge despite the president's assassination last year and the promise of elections coming.

How can you have a vote in this violence? How can you have normal daily life, people are beginning to ask themselves, as they wake up each morning.

A real sense among people in Port-au-Prince and the rest of Haiti, they wake very day not knowing if the basic things you need for normal life will be there -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: Even the risk of death is worth leaving.

Nick Paton Walsh, for us there, thank you so much.

FBI agents executed an unprecedented serge of former President Trump's home. We'll talk about the implications for 2022, presidential race in 2024 and beyond. We'll discuss it. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: Serena Williams is warning us to brace. She heavily implied that she'll retire soon in a "Vogue" magazine article out today.

She writes this, "I'm here to tell you I'm evolving away from tennis toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago, I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that I started a family. I want to grow that family."

The article was released one day after she won her first singles match since 2021 at the Canadian Open.

CNN contributor and sportscaster, Cari Champion, joins me now. She's also the host of the "Naked with Cari Champion" podcast.

Good to see you again.

This is sad news for us Serena fans. Are you surprised by this?

CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not surprised. However, I am still very sad. I think we have all noticed Serena taking time off, having some injuries.

I remember after she had her child one of my then co-hosts at the time said, as a father, and I have been married how many years, this is probably Serena saying good-bye to us, and it will be a long farewell. And I think most of us quite frankly didn't want to believe that.

And just a little bit of story time. I have to share this story about who Serena is.

When I first got into sports, I worked at the Tennis Channel, and I only covered that single sport, which was tennis. And it was Serena and her sister, but primarily Serena.

What Serena was able to do in terms of context is she really saved American tennis.

When Andre Agassi wasn't playing well anymore, when Andy Roddick, when he didn't live up to what he thought they would live up to, American tennis found itself at a crossroads.

There were two sisters that were so loved in terms of what they were able to do for the collective and the culture. On the court, we didn't understand who they were.

By we, two people who couldn't understand two little girls wearing beads and playing in such a way that made you stop and pay attention to them.

Serena saved American Tennis. I think to see her go is the end of an era.

BLACKWELL: And you know, she was at 23 grand slam titles. Margaret Court at 24, she's one short of tying. Her fans -- I count myself as one of them -- wanted that so badly for her, but even not meeting that record unquestionably the greatest of all time.

CHAMPION: And not even in tennis, because I was there when she lost, and I remember, it was a painful loss. And to quote her very well, "I hate losing more than I do winning."


And she was so upset. I think that's why she's hung in for so long.

I, too, am a fan. But we all wanted to still see here. And perhaps we still were. I'm going to keep hope alive that maybe perhaps that will happen.